In the blog, "When You Really Just Can't" I talked about a few things to try to calm your mind and focus. In my last blog, I started to focus on those items I mentioned one at a time, beginning with "Making Space." Today, I was thinking about prioritizing and how often we define (for ourselves) needs vs wants, or "I need to" versus "I have to."
For me, when I think "I HAVE TO DO THIS!" It is an emotional response to something - usually financial - where I feel panicked and a sense of emergency. When I think to myself, "I need to do this," it is another emotional response, but usually one where there is a bit of disappointment and a touch of "should have been doing it all along." And that is usually the precursor to "I HAVE TO DO THIS!"
It probably started in college with procrastinating the work I had to do, and it can be the same with fitness - even family. There is usually something that happens in our lives that cause us to say "I HAVE TO DO THIS!" when the reality is, it could have been being done, little by little, all along.
Also, when I think, "I need to do this," it is quite often more important than the "I have to's." My "needs" - when it really comes down to it - are those things that I realize I need to do where if I don't, I will look back on my life later and regret not having done it. And thinking that way has caused me to really think about priorities, and the case of the "need to's" versus the "want/have to's." So here are some things to think about when you have a case of the "HAVE TO's ...":
Slow Your Role
Stealing this statement from my childhood, I think it's important that when we feel panicked we take a moment, realize that the world is not crashing down in this very moment, and collect our thoughts. I suggested making a list and literally writing things down - even narrate your thoughts into a document; it really helps me.
Define the Need, Want, and "Have to"
I think it's pretty obvious that, once you collect yourself, you should then really evaluate what you are panicking about and see if it is something that just needs to be done - like a checklist item - or something that is urgent. Urgency for me needs to be less emotional and more factual. For example, I could get all emotional that my savings account needs to be higher than it is and start shoving money towards it, but to the detriment of my grocery budget that week. It is important that my savings grows, but it will take time. So I need to be a bit more rational about that.
Or perhaps my cholesterol is wicked high. Not eating for a week is not that answer, but eating right for the rest of my life is. And that takes time, and a little good education too. Again, rationality over emotion. Another example could be with exercise. It is going to take time to look different. If you don't like what you weight, or what you see when you look in the mirror - it can be emotional. But if you start exercising based on emotion you will carry that with you and it will be a real roller coaster of highs and lows to get in shape.
Do What Makes Rational Sense
I think there needs to be a separate blog post on "rationality," because we can get confused in the various emotional responses we have - relationships, for example. But here, I want to focus on the rational sense decisions when it comes to our health.
So if you have those moments where you don't like the person's health that you see when you look in the mirror, you need to make a rational decision to become healthier. This means that 1) you know it is going to take time; 2) you know you are going to have to be consistent; 3) you know you will have to live differently than you have been. Now, you may know this and still make an emotional decision to move forward. But here, I would say the difference comes with your mindset about it - and I am going to assume you have an idea of what I mean. There are just those times when you "are in your right mind" and without using emotion, you make a plan to see something through and make a logical plan to get it done.
When you feel like you "HAVE TO," slow down. Take a look at what is actually the problem, evaluate it, and then rationally move forward with a new resolve.
Some "weekly" musings from Pastor Dave as he sits on his porch and drinks coffee, thinking about theology and lifting heavy weights. For gymsharks, there is something called "Flex Fridays," where we vainly put up photos of ourselves flexing. So this blog is my attempt to flex my theological muscles through reflection ... get it?